Craft [Noun] - The skilled practice of a practical occupation
Originally Posted by jnanian
So in our terms John - Craft - is technique and skill (Craft [Verb] is the hand made bit, not really used that way in photography)
However it's still just craft as you learn & improve skills, and understand more, not everyone (any field) with good or even great craft is going to produce art.
I think you hit the nail on the head here, and 2F/2F, Bob Carnie, etc's comments tie in and follow on.
Originally Posted by juan
The basic craft isn't difficult and it's quite simple, it's just having the discipline to learn how to get the best from one at the most two films initially, and a developer, and of course the equipment used.
This always starts with the negative because with a good negative you have the possibility of interpreting it in different ways in the darkroom.
There are international renowned artist/photographers who have worked that way for years, and a good example is John Blakemore who shoots only FP4 processed in ID-11 for his early landscapes and later still life work (5x4). He works differently with 35mm using HP5 but again in ID-11. A simple choice but John's honing of technique, choice of exposure & development gives him immense freedom to produce amazing work. (Worth listening to the Audio link on this page http://www.lensculture.com/blakemore.html#)
Salgado was working just as simply usually with one film Tri-X, now also 6x7 as well as 35mm, and I think his work was lab processed to his directions. He now shoots digital.
Two very different ways of working, and in John's case total mastery of the negative stage, which carries on through in his printing skills as well.
Perhaps artists from other fields understand the importance of honing basic skills quickly, so they can get on with using the medium creatively.
Originally Posted by phaedrus
The easiest way to learn to hone the core skills is on a workshop, a good one integrates the craft alongside the art/photography of a leading photographer with a separate course leader. In addition they usually incorporate discussion & examples of the other issues “phaedrus” mentions, like project work, methods of presentation, maybe sequencing, etc, as well as critique sessions of participants work. You can learn far more in 3-5 days on a workshop than possibly a year from books etc in isolation wasting time and materials.